TESS MCCLURE AND COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 16:11, July 22 2015
Business women Rebecca Stack, from Christchurch Eye Surgery has won the supreme prize at the Mumtrepreneur Awards held in Wellington. The awards celebrate successful businesses run by mums.
The woman behind Christchurch Eye Surgery has been named supreme winner of a national business award.
Rebecca Stack, co-founder and co-owner of Christchurch Eye Surgery, has won the Best Product or Service Business category in the “Mumtrepreneur” awards and on Wednesday was named the Supreme winner and “mumtrepreneur” of the year.
It was a constant struggle for mums to find the balance between running a successful business and finding the time to share precious moments with their children before they get older, she said.
The idea for the business came about over a coffee and was born out of frustration, which many mums at the awards had also expressed.
Before she started Christchurch Eye Surgery, Stack worked in a group practice, but said she “saw there was a need to develop a facility specifically for eyes”.
Along with another colleague, she drafted a design, talked to some architects and found a site, and then put a proposal to all the other ophthalmologists in town – and managed to get nine on board.
Within a year of opening, the purpose-built facility has become the top provider of eye care for Canterbury, carrying out 75 per cent of ophthalmic procedures in the region.
Before branching out on her own, Stack was a consultant at public hospital and at Southern Eye Specialists, and she has kept those positions.
As well as the practice and her consulting work, Stack is also a mother to Hannah, age six and Grace, four.
“Time is always the biggest challenge – trying to be in all these different places and spread yourself over all these things,” Stack said.
“One of the things I hadn’t appreciated beforehand is how totally caught up in the whole thing you get. When you work with someone else you turn up, do your job and go home. But when you’re creating something yourself it just becomes all consuming – and every challenge along the way becomes magnified.”
Another challenge has been operating as a woman in primarily-male industries, Stack said.
“It’s been really interesting being a woman involved in all of this. Medicine is still a very male-dominated specialty, and most of my colleagues are men. And being involved in the designing and building a commercial property, almost everyone I come across is male as well, and that’s an interesting dynamic – they don’t expect you to know anything about what you’re doing.”
Despite the challenges, Stack said she had enjoyed the ride so far, especially the collaborative aspect of the shared practice.
“Theres’ a lot of cross pollination of ideas. It’s been a real buzz,” she said.
Loyalty New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall said Stack’s innovative model marked her out as a clear winner.
“Rebecca has ticked all the right boxes from a business perspective. She identified a gap in the market, and created an integrated business. Her model is one that is very difficult to pull off, but she’s absolutely delivered on her vision,” he said.
“She operates in the sharing economy, and this is the way of the future.
“It’s a testament to her that Christchurch Eye Surgery has become so successful in such a short space of time.”
Christchurch Eye Surgery is owned equally by the nine surgeons.
The competition judges were Catherine de Groot, Trilogy skincare co-founder; Tui Te Hau from creative digital agency; and Stephen England-Hall.
The competition received 130 entries.
The supreme winner, Stack, will receive 30,000 Fly Buys points plus another 10,000 for being a category winner, enough for a technology overhaul at work or at home or for flights and accommodation for an overseas family holiday.
The category winners receive 10,000 Fly Buys points.
Award category winners:
Jennie Macky of Teaser Bull Company
Louise de Varga of NZ Independent Book Festival
Jacqui Ritchie of Bellyful New Zealand
Jude Dobson of Raising Children Media
Heather Baker of Little Angels Baby Food